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The mother of two missing Idaho children has been arrested in Hawaii, weeks after failing to produce the children by a court-ordered deadline.
Lori Vallow Daybell, 46, was arrested Thursday by the Kaua’i Police Department on a warrant issued out of Madison County, Idaho, according to a statement from police.
The 46-year-old has been charged with two felony counts of desertion of a child, as well as misdemeanor charges of resisting and obstructing an officer, solicitation of a crime and contempt, according to a news release from the Madison County Prosecuting Attorney’s office.
“The complaint filed by the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office in Rexburg, Idaho alleges that Vallow abandoned her two minor children, delayed law enforcement’s attempts to locate her children, and encouraged another individual to delay law enforcement’s attempts to locate her children,” the statement said.
Vallow’s two children, 17-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old Joshua “J.J.” Vallow have been missing since September, when they were last seen in Idaho.
Rexburg Police have previously said they believe the children’s “lives are in danger” and that Vallow has “refused” to work with law enforcement, instead opting to leave the state.
“We know that the children are not with Lori and Chad Daybell and we also have information indicating that Lori knows either the location of the children or what has happened to them. Despite having this knowledge, she has refused to work with law enforcement to help us resolve this matter,” police said in a December statement.
A court order was filed in late January requiring Vallow to physically produce the children five days; however, Vallow never produced the children and remained in Hawaii with her new husband Chad Daybell, according to the Rexburg Police.
Her refusal to produce the children as instructed prompted her arrest Thursday.
She is currently being held in Kaua’i on a $5 million bail as she waits extradition to Idaho.
Relatives of the missing children have been gravely concerned about the children’s safety.
“There are two phone calls I want to get right now,” Larry Woodcock, J.J.’s grandfather told People. “The first call is that they’ve been found right now, J.J. and Tylee are safe and they’re heading home. And the second call is that Lori and Chad Daybell have been arrested.”
Vallow’s adopted son J.J. was last seen on Sept. 23 at Kennedy Elementary School, where he had been attending classes for just a few weeks. The following day, Vallow told school officials she was pulling him out of school because the family needed to “move quickly,” according to an email to the school obtained by People.
Just days later, on Oct. 1, she rented a storage garage, which she visited multiple times before she left Idaho, according to East Idaho News. Investigators later found items belonging to the missing children in the storage garage, including bikes, a photo album with family pictures, a backpack with JJ’s initials and blankets with photos of the children.
The children’s disappearance comes in conjunction with a string of unusual deaths surrounding the newlywed couple.
Vallow’s fourth husband, Charles Vallow, was shot and killed in July by her brother Alex Cox during some type of confrontation, NBC News reports. Cox himself died in December.
Before Charles Vallow was killed, he had filed for divorce from Lori and claimed in court filings that she believed she was a reincarnated god whose purpose was to lead people during the second coming of Jesus in July 2020.
Chad Daybell’s wife, Tammy Daybell, also died in October in what investigators now believe may have been suspicious circumstances.
Chad Daybell is a religious author who often wrote about preparing for the end of the world, according to People.
The case has attracted intense media scrutiny as the search for the two missing children continues.
“First of all, we wish to thank the public for the massive outpouring of concern regarding this case,” Kaua’i Chief of Police Todd G. Raybuck said in the statement. “We also want to thank everyone for their patience while investigators worked diligently to comprehensively gather everything they needed in order to obtain this arrest warrant.”
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